Poultry farmers demonstrate with day-old chicks at a human chain in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka yesterday to protest political shutdowns and blockades that brought the sector to its knees. Photo: firoz ahmed
Poultry farmers yesterday sought a bailout package from the government to help them survive in the current political unrest that has brought the sector on the brink of collapse.
The government should take steps so that banks waive their interests for six months from October this year, they said at a rally in the capital.
They also demanded interest-free loan for small farmers and compensation for affected investors.
“The poultry sector is on the verge of destruction due to the political turbulence,” said Moshiur Rahman, convener of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Coordination Committee, a platform of six associations in the poultry sector.
The poultry industry has incurred losses worth more than Tk 4,000 crore due to political unrest in the last three months, he said at a human chain in front of the National Press Club in the city.
They also called upon the government to relax loan rescheduling rules for the sector and waive fine for delay in taking delivery of goods from ports.
The poultry sector leaders urged the BNP-led 18-party alliance to keep the sector out of the purview of strikes and blockades.
All the sub-sectors of the poultry industry such as breeders, feed vendors, meat and egg producers and medicine sellers are counting losses due to blockades and shutdowns, said Rahman, also the president of Breeders Association of Bangladesh.
They are selling products more than 30-40 percent below the production cost, said Saidur Rahman Babu, general secretary of the breeders' association.
The feed industry has suffered losses of around Tk 1,000 crore in the last three months, said Fazle Rahim Khan Shahriar, secretary of the Feed Industries Association of Bangladesh.
Taher Ahmed Siddiki, president of Egg Producers' Association, said banks should give interest-free loans for at least two years to small farmers.
The poultry sector leaders said they would announce tougher programmes if their demands are not met immediately.
They would also meet the finance minister and the chairman of the National Board of Revenue to discuss their demands.
The poultry industry contributes 4 percent to Bangladesh's gross domestic product. The country has six grandparent stock farms, 60-70 parent stock farms and hatcheries and 70,000 poultry farms. The sector has so far invested around Tk 25,000 crore and its annual turnover is Tk 30,000 crore.